News / Africa

Locally-Produced Fuel at Zimbabwe's Pumps

Fuel blended with 10 percent locally-made and eco-friendly ethanol went on sale in Zimbabwe's capital this week, at a lower cost than fuel that is fully imported.  The project, which is possibly Africa’s largest eco-project to date, has created more jobs in Zimbabwe than any other in the last 20 years.  It was also the brainchild of businessman Billy Rautenbach, who is the target of European Union and U.S. sanctions.

So far 7,000 hectares of sugar cane has been planted in southern and eastern Zimbabwe.  The harvest is being fed into a huge new refinery nearby which produces ethanol.

The plant, run by a company called Green Fuel, is set to pump out about 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s fuel needs within the next few months.

For motorists this is a boon, as fuel blended with ethanol -- now available at some pumps in Harare -- is cheaper than fully imported traditional fuel.

Consumers were filling up this week in Harare. "We have been waiting very much for this kind of product.  Because I travel a lot and at one time I was in Brazil and we have got plenty of land around here so what is important is utilizing the land, we have plenty of land. I [am] very, very happy about tha," one consumer state.

Lilian Muungani, the public relations officer for Green Fuel, said the project began two years ago when private agricultural companies signed a deal with the state land company, the Agriculture Rural Development Authority, to take over and rehabilitate its collapsed sugar cane estates.  In the process, a massive reconstruction and expansion of irrigation systems was undertaken.

The refinery was partly imported from Brazil, with bits of it manufactured in Harare and a team of experts from Brazil and Mauritius overseeing the project.

Green Fuel says it plans to plant and irrigate at least 50,000 hectares of sugar cane to produce two million liters of ethanol a day.

A garage owner in Harare, Norias Chibeke, said people had quickly bought out the first delivery of the blend of unleaded fuel and 10 percent ethanol. "Most of the motorists were eager to know how it works. So they are saying we want to see how it goes.  We received about 10,000 [liters] and we sold it in one-and-a-half days because the price was good for them.  The unleaded we are selling at 1.42 a liter and the blend we are selling at 1.36.”

The company says Billy Rautenbach is the “brains” behind the vast project, which has provided 4,500 jobs so far in a poverty-stricken part of the country.

Rautenbach says he cannot be part of the company because he is on the E.U. and U.S. sanctions lists and any stake he might hold would put the project at risk.

No E.U. or U.S. citizen can trade with about 120 Zimbabweans, mostly top members of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, plus several banks and state mining companies.  The sanctions were originally imposed because of alleged human rights abuses perpetrated by Mugabe supporters during the run-up to the 2002 presidential elections.

Criticism of ZANU-PF increased after the government displaced hundreds of thousands of urban people in Harare in 2005.

Green Fuel says no one has been displaced by this project, which is also supplying irrigation for the first time to peasant farmers working in dry areas around the sugar cane fields.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid